June 25, 2015


Apple Music Will Host the First-Ever Stream of Taylor Swift's '1989'

C Flanigan/Getty Images
C Flanigan/Getty Images

Update (6/25): First Taylor Swift got Apple Music to revise its stance on paying artists during the free trial. Now she's using company's new streaming service to stream her mega-hit album 1989 for the first time anywhere. Here we go:

Update (6/22): Queen Taylor Swift took to her well-followed Tumblr over the weekend to take Apple to task. She explained why she wouldn't permit her world-dominating 1989 album to stream on the upcoming Apple Music service. She asked for something different from the tech giant. And she got it.

The message—read it below—was a bruiser, and it convinced Apple to change tact. “When I woke up this morning and read Taylor’s note, it really solidified that we need to make a change,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, told the New York Times. Collectively, now: WOW. Remember when Diplo said Swift had terrifying power in the industry? Dude wasn't fibbin'.

Swift celebrated the outcome, as one does when one gets the biggest music company in the universe to admit it's doing something messed up and to then do a 180:

Read Taylor Swift's message to Apple below. And beneath that, get caught up with the original story, the one where Apple Music's sketchy plan was to not pay artists or labels for streams during the three-month trial period. Maybe next time just do the fair, right thing first?

I write this to explain why I’ll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.


Original Story (6/19): We're 11 days from the launch of Apple Music, the tech giant's potential Spotify-killer. It sounds alluring, but artists aren't so sure. During the streaming service's free three-month trial period, nobody's receiving royalties, no matter how many plays they get.

Now Apple Music's taking a Taylor Swift-sized hit: The popular-as-ice-cream album 1989 won't be available. It's not happening. Period.

"The Big Machine rep said there are currently no plans to release 1989 to any streaming service in the near future, a strategy which forces consumers to either pay for the album in stores or procure it through other means," BuzzFeed reports, going on to note that 1989 has moved almost 5 million copies in its eight months of life.

Swift has spoken before about her belief that "music consumed as albums." We'll be watching to see if other major artists take similar stands as Apple Music comes to life. (The Beatles are in Swift's boat for now, too.)